Navy Issues Draft RFP for New Guided-Missile Frigate
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Senior Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has posted a draft Request for Proposals for its next warship design, the FFG(X) next-generation guided-missile frigate.
“The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) intends to issue a solicitation under full and open competition in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019 for the detail design and construction (DD&C) of guided-missile frigates under the FFG(X) program,” said the announcement posted on the FedBizOps website on March 2. “The solicitation will provide for DD&C of up to ten (10) FFG(X) ships, post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, crew familiarization, training equipment and provisioned item orders.”
The Navy plans to purchase 20 new frigates, the first beginning in fiscal 2020, scheduled for delivery in 2023. The designs submitted by shipbuilders are required to be based on “an existing parent ship design that has been demonstrated at sea. … FFG(X) ships must be constructed in a United States shipyard. Each offeror may submit only one proposal as a prime contractor. However, offerors may act as subcontractors under a prime contractor in one or more proposals.”
Five companies are expected to respond to the final RfP: Austal USA, Fincantieri Marine, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Huntington Ingalls Industries and Lockheed Martin, all of which were contracted to develop frigate designs. The competition is open to other builders as well. Unlike in the Littoral Combat Ship program, only one hull type will be selected.
The RfP is under the purview of the Program Executive Office — Unmanned and Small Combatants.
The FFG(X) will be equipped with the Raytheon-built Enterprise Air Search Radar; the Block II of the SLQ-32(V)6 SEWIP (Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program), with a space reservation for SLQ-32(V)7 SEWIP Block III; the Cooperative Engagement Capability; the COMBATSS-21 combat system; the SQS-62 variable-depth sonar; the TB-37 multifunction towed array; the SQQ-89(V)15 antisubmarine warfare system; and data links 11, 16 and 22.
The new frigate’s weapons will include a battery of over-the-horizon cruise missiles; a Mk110 57 mm gun, a 32-cell Mk41 Vertical Launching System — armed with the Standard Missile-2 surface-to-air missile and Block II of the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile, and, in the future, an ASROC-like anti-submarine missile — a Rolling Airframe Missile launcher, and, potentially in the future, a laser weapon.
The ship will be able to carry one MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, one MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle, and two 7-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats.